While Tweed towns have banned the bag, a recent campaign in our southern shires to go plastic bag-free is getting results in Lennox Head and Byron Bay.
Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce president Louise Owen told Echonetdaily, ‘Most of the locals are on board,’ however, tourists usually don’t think to bring their own bags.
‘The Chamber also doesn’t support biodegradable bags; they don’t break down any faster, and both can do damage to marine life.’
Ms Owen says that Lennox businesses Riley Burnett and Pure Pod are now plastic bag free, and she is hoping the IGA supermarket, the biggest user of plastic bags in the town, will also consider a reduction. Lennox Head IGA store manager Rachel O’Connor told Echonetdaily she was unable to comment on the issue.
Plastic free checkout
Byron Bay Super IGA, however, introduced a plastic-free checkout for shoppers last week.
Manager Peter Chounding told Echonetdaily that the store had also installed energy-saving LED lights and replaced its compressors. ‘It has reduced CO2 by about 30 tonnes per month,’ he said.
‘We’ve always recycled our plastic and cardboard, and always had a wheelie bin for recycled plastic bags, as well as cardboard boxes.’
The announcement will hopefully put more pressure on other businesses to offer bag alternatives. The shops on board also provide a donation tin to help Australian Seabird Rescue with marine life and birds affected by plastic bags.
‘Although not a storewide initiative, this is certainly a step in the right direction with IGA Byron Bay committing to a plastic-bag-free aisle,’ said campaign spokesperson Trude Helm.
Woolworths did not respond to its Byron Bay plastic bag policy before going to press; however, their website says, ‘you’ll find a plastic-bag recycling bin at the front of most Woolworths/Safeway stores.’
Meanwhile Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson recently moved two motions that seek to reduce plastic consumption in the Ballina Shire, and the whole of NSW in general.
‘One seeks a ban on the single-use plastic bags,’ he says, ‘the other is calling for a container deposit scheme to be introduced in NSW.
‘Furthermore, Ballina Council will also now be taking these motions to the NSW Shires Division A Conference that is being held in South West Rocks in March.’
He added that it is great that fellow councillors unanimously supported the motions and agreed to take them to the shires’ conference to increase the pressure on the NSW government to implement these changes.